In an ideal world, the printed word would still be treated with respect and not kicked around like some pesky fossil reminding us of a duller, slower age before hashtags. In that world, enraged citizens would pour into the streets, yelling creatively worded protest chants at the first hint of a threat to service at their beloved library system. The library is, after all—like the DMV or Target—the crossroads of society through which all people still pass; the sign of public trust that knowledge is for all to share regardless of income level.
But that’s not what happened when Sunday hours were eliminated in the Brooklyn Public Library system earlier this year, and the 60 or so branches in the borough narrowly avoided a major budget slash a few weeks ago that would have dropped Saturday hours too, not to forget an upcoming two-year closure of the Park Slope branch for renovations. If you have one of those “jobs” that requires you to be somewhere during weekdays, your window for getting to the library is shrinking.
But a group of people is out there fighting for your weekend access to books, computers, workshops and the other resources that make up the broke-person’s oasis known as the public library, that place that’s like the socialized medicine version of B&N. The Branch project last weekend launched its plan to open up a temporary, free library space every Sunday through the end of October in an unused parking lot on Myrtle Avenue (last week’s was in the Citibank lot at the corner of Clinton) Some highlights of oepning day: More than 150 people signed up as members and received Branch library cards (no overdue fines, at least not yet) while others stopped by to browse through the Sunday papers. This Sunday, holding a workshop that allows people to plan and design the actual space.
Rumors Studio, the Brooklyn-based design collective behind a dazzling site called Brokelyn, is working with Branch to host a fundraiser on Sept. 16 (that’s a week from tonight) at Melville House, 145 Plymouth St. in DUMBO. It’s from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the cost is $5, and the event includes beer and snacks for sale, a prize raffle and plenty of chances for you to talk to someone about how to get more involved. The money goes to help pay for those free books, performances and computers the project hopes to keep bringing you on Sundays.
Branch Library has more information about volunteering and donating supplies.
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